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spontaneous generation

noun, Biology
Origin of spontaneous generation
1650-60 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spontaneous generation
  • There is no difference between in spontaneous generation and the belief that life was energized by a spark of lightning.
  • For many centuries, people believed in spontaneous generation, or the ability of life to generate from non-living matter.
  • The need to convince the skeptical led him to studies of so-called spontaneous generation.
  • The goal of this letter-writing lesson is the spontaneous generation of letters and their use as a communication tool.
British Dictionary definitions for spontaneous generation

spontaneous generation

a theory, widely held in the 19th century and earlier but now discredited, stating that living organisms could arise directly and rapidly from nonliving material Also called abiogenesis
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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spontaneous generation in Science
spontaneous generation  
The supposed development of living organisms from nonliving matter, as maggots from rotting meat. The theory of spontaneous generation for larger organisms was easily shown to be false, but the theory was not fully discredited until the mid-19th century with the demonstration of the existence and reproduction of microorganisms, most notably by Louis Pasteur. Also called abiogenesis.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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